Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 12 March 2017
It's that church again, but this time from the other side. It's that moon again too - the same side.
This is the third reincarnation of St Michael's Without - 'without' the city wall, you see. We live on the other side of it, and the foundations of our 18th century house are built right on the city wall. The First St Michael's fell down due to poor building. The second was torn down due to poor architecture and this one was built in the 19th century on the same site. I believe it may be the only church in England not to be aligned on an East/West axis. The spire started to fall down - it leans precariously one way to a sharp eye - but last year they stabalised it (they hope) by halting the rusting structure within it which was expanding the joints. The enemy within St Michael's Without.
According to my calculations, we live on the peice of medieval wall which incorporated the first King Edward Grammar School in the country, but you know all about my calculations. One of the classrooms was a room above the now demolished North Gate. In those days, latin was an education in itself. These days, Northgate is a Busgate through which you may not drive between the hours of 10.00am and 6.00pm on pain of number-plate recognition. It is only hidden cameras which make it a gate, so they make lots of money from ignorant tourists.
I once had a pass from the Burgermeister of Salzburg to drive into the centre of the old city. It was a massive bit of parchment-like paper with a medieval seal and gothic script, and it was stuck to the windscreen of my van, obscuring quite a bit of road. I would drive up to a red and white striped pole gate which looked like a border crossing, and armed police would examine my pass before raising the bar to let me through. Once in, I was forced to drive at walking pace behind the residents, who strolled through the streets in front of me, seemingly unaware of my presence. This was how it should have been.
We have a difficult problem here in that there is a big fight between those of us who are fed up with signage obscuring the architecture which brings the tourists here in the first place, and informing strangers about the dangers of flouting the rules and regulations regarding driving around when they do come here in cars. When a film company uses Bath as a set, they take all the signage down for a day or two, because everyone knows that motor cars were quite rare in Jane Austen's day, so did not need the strict regulation they do now.
I saw one episode of Doctor Who in the 1970s which was filmed in Trafalga Square, London. The square and surrounding roads were completely and utterly empty, save for pigeons, the Doctor and about 20 Daleks. They must have arrived before dawn and begun filming immediately, but even so, can you imagine that being possible today?
We have been watching SS/GB, and in it, the Houses of Parliament are draped with massive red, white and black swastika banners. I am guessing they used CGI for that...
The population of Bath must have quadrupled today. There are several thousand runners in the Bath Half Marathon, and they bring with them their entire families and most of their friends. Cafes and bars love it, but it is a pain in the arse for everyone else.